When I first read those glowing 5-star reviews I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book as soon as it came out. How bizarre that I really can’t connect to it. I don’t like this girl, really I think she is blasé, she is a flake and most of all she is oh so special.
“I was born to be unpopular”
So starts the story of Elise Dembowski, sweet sixteen but sadly nobody sees her that way. She is bullied, with no friends the one that sits alone in the school bus. Guess what? If you wouldn’t listen to your iPod with the earphones constantly plugged and smile once in a while people might actually talk to you. But with this sentence alone I didn’t like her. Everybody I know, really everybody has embarrassing moments in his life and pictures and memories and scars to show for it. It’s called childhood and it’s called growing up. And to think that you’re so special nobody will ever like you for you, that is just simply stupid and arrogant. For someone who gets bullied, misunderstood and is constantly underestimated at school I thought she might know how wrong it is to being judged by others because of your looks and outward appearance. But noooohooo for our special Elise all people around her are just stupid, idiots or bitches. She is as much a snob if not worse as anybody else.
I was working on my combination when my friends showed up. You know, Chava and Sally. Those friends. “Just the people I wanted to see!” I said to them, and I wasn’t even sarcastic for once.
From the first page to the last she kept judging people, her friends, and the boy she made out with, everybody. Her cool indie rock is so much better than the popular music
The one thing I couldn’t bring myself to do was listen to the music. I tried, for nearly an hour. Then I gave uo. It was bad. Not even interesting-bad (…). The popular music wasn’t interesting-bad, it was bad-bad. Auto-Tuned vocalists who couldn’t really sing; offensively simplistic instrumentation; grating melodies. Like they thought we were stupid.
Really? Just because I like to listen or dance to pop music once in a while you oh so special girl can call me stupid and brainless? Elise’s attitude is so offensive to me because the majority of people and especially my friends like all kinds of music. I like to listen to live jazz in a smoky bar, go to classic guitar concerts, I enjoy opera but I really love a DJ who can make me dance with house music. I like indie rock as well as hip hop and don’t you dare tell me I am brainless and offend you because I like listening to “popular music”.
So, because she is this spectacular music genius, after a few hours of practicing she is this AWESOME DJane at this AWESOME underground club, at 16. Suuuure. But not enough, she also gets a job offer after only a few weeks of half-an-hour appearances as DJ for the whole Friday night putting on music until early morning. Seriously? Are fucking kidding me? Maybe that is news to you, but at this age and according to youth labor laws that also apply in the USA as far as I know (it is called: Young Persons Protection of Employment Act ) I believe it is liable to prosecution to put 16 year olds to work after 8 pm. But our Elise is soooo special she is even better than DJ Char, the boy who she made out with during the last weeks, who showed her how to DJ and gave her an opportunity to perform as one in the first place.
Pete took a swig of ginger ale. “If you’re saying that you’re sure I could find some thirty-six-year-old guy who’s spun ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ so many times that he’s able to play Tetris in his phone while he’s DJing, while chugging Red Bull so he can stay awake until four am, then yeah.I’m sure I could find that guy, too. (…) But, Elise, believe me when I tell you this: your talent, your natural talent, puts Char’s to shame.”
Again our oh-so-special Elise is better than anybody else even her “mentor” DJ Char and the Underground Friday Party Night in an old warehouse will be promoted with her picture and her name online in the local newspaper. Let me tell you this: No DJ will attract a crowd because he is an upstart. But of cause special DJ Elise does. And last but not least Prince DJ Char(ming) turns out to be Michael who works as server in Antonio’s Pizzeria and who is “only” a part-time student at the college.
That was Char. It was all laid out for me across the Internet. It was a simple portrait of a person, like a million other people, and I felt the magic of Char float off into the air, as if I’d blown on a pile of dust.
After I had learned all I cared about Michael Kirkby, I looked up my own name. (…) The first two search result were the same as always. (…) But the third result was different. Elise Dembowski suicide had fallen down on the list. The third thing that came up when I typed my own name was Elise Dembowski DJ. I stared at my computer screen for a long moment, and I smiled.
You know what Elise; fuck you and your attitude. You are nothing special. You are like a million other people out there and maybe just maybe I suggest you talk to people instead of judging them. Maybe Michael has a reason for his way of life. But you never cared to know, because you didn’t even want to know his real name. Maybe you should care more about friends and family instead of destroying your sister’s castle and being sarcastic and dismissive to your dad and the people who actually care about you throughout this story.
In order to finish this review I’d like to only skip over the actual story. I really get that she has a hard life in high-school, that she doesn’t like her class mates and being called lesbo because she doesn’t wear a bra at age 16, well it’s not funny but girl really wear a bra, those boobs bounce and jingle and make 16-year-old boys all kinds of horny and say all kinds of nasty things to you.
Being 33 years old I can honestly say I am glad I am out of school. It was a horrible experience sometimes; at least for me. But this novel gives young adults the wrong idea: that if you are an outsider you are special and you just go out at night walk into an underground club and you’ll see how everything changes like in a fairy tale. And no, this is not true. Because I went out at night, and I did go to parties and I met all kinds of wrong people, started taking drugs and have meaningless sex with boys I never met before. And the way Elise takes is not right: her nightly adventures, her making out with Char, sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night…
Everybody is special like you, too. Everybody has something good to show, everybody has gone through life altering moments as well. Maybe some people were popular in school. But even they had heartbreak, or have lost dear ones, or have a problematic family situation. It just takes talking to them to get to know people and it takes courage to open up and to confide in others. But sadly our special Elise didn’t really learn this lesson.
I can’t give this book more than 2 stars.